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Longboat Key Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 3 years ago

Longboat Police rule out accident, natural causes in sauna death

The 54-year-old woman's body bore signs of trauma, warranting Longboat Police to dismantle the sauna in which the body was found.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Longboat Key Police Department investigators have ruled out accidental or natural causes of death in their probe of the circumstances that led to the discovery of a woman’s body Jan. 23 in a sauna at the Longboat Key Club Moorings clubhouse, according to the department.

Law enforcement and the District 12 Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Russell Vega have not said how the 54-year-old woman, whose body bore signs of trauma, died. There has been no determination if the death was a homicide or suicide, said Police Chief Pete Cumming.

Lori Martin

Family members identified the woman as Lori Martin, a woman whose death Vega said he was investigating.

The woman has not been publicly identified by police.

Blood was found at the scene, prompting police to “essentially dismantle” most of the sauna, sending panels to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office for forensic inspection.

Longboat Police Department spent about $10,000 Tuesday to send all evidence it gathered at the scene, including a prescription pill bottle and a water bottle, to private labs for forensics to expedite the investigation, Cumming said.

Many of the tests, including toxicology and DNA, the medical examiner is waiting for to make a determination of death could take months, Cumming said. 

A security video reviewed by police shows the woman leaving a boat at the Moorings around 11 a.m. and not returning, he said.

Someone staying at the Moorings found her body about six hours later, Cumming said.

Police estimate Martin died between noon and 2 p.m.

Cumming said his investigators have opinions about how the woman died but won’t release anything publicly until the department receives its report from the Medical Examiner.

“I’m not panicking, we’re putting all our resources on it. We’re where we should be with the investigation,” Cumming said last week.

Story updated Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 9:15 a.m.

I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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